merchant cash advance leads
A small business owner posted a great question on the LinkedIn group “Small Business Networks for Startups and Entrepreneurs” board:
Are cold calls effective? Or is it old school? For a small company, what is the best way to promote the business? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.”
The small business owner who posted this question got more than her fair share of advice and opinions regarding the practice of cold calling. And, while most every single comment had a jewel of truth and wisdom when it comes to cold calling – the comments also conflicted with each other. For example:
“Not only is it old school but its intrusive and offensive.”
“Cold calling is old school indeed but it is still one of the most effective ways to reach prospects.”
So – which is it? Offensive or Effective?
Fortunately for the small business owner uncertain whether to pick up the phone there was one comment that simply rocked. Sandra Hoedemaker owner of ChefinDemand.com an online business coaching service specializing in providing services to personal chefs, posted a completely different perspective and approach to cold calling – something she calls “Connect Calling.”
Connecting is Warm – Cold is…well, Cold
Those commenters who identified cold calling as intrusive and offensive make a good point. Today’s consumer not only isn’t interested in hearing uninvited sales pitches, they can (and quite often do) find unscheduled sales calls as a definite intrusion into an already too busy day.
Sandra notes that she does, in fact, “cold call” and also indicates that these calls are always most successful when she is able to connect with the decision maker. So far her comment sounds like your run-of-the-mill cold calling advice. However, Sandra definitely breaks rank because she goes on to say that she “doesn’t sell on the phone.”
OK, if she’s cold calling, but not selling – what exactly IS Sandra doing when she makes those calls?
Sandra knows prospects aren’t interested in “being sold” – but they are interested in learning real ways to solve their problems and get their needs met. Sandra knows that the best way to do that is to establish her credibility as an expert who knows how to solve common problems and meet the special needs of her niche. How does she do that? She offers to provide them with carefully selected free services. This allows her to:
- Build her email list and then connect with prospects freely because they have invited Sandra to contact them.
- Stay connected to her prospects via blogging, teleclasses, and other virtual events (she’s also in the process of putting video presentations in place.)
Outside of the above, connecting with prospects versus cold calling prospects has resulted in Sandra receiving referrals and she’s also garnered invitations to speak as well. Sandra has successfully used Connect Calling as a tactic to connect with prospects in meaningful ways. She’s taken an “old school, annoying” tactic and turned it into a powerful tool to build a community of prospective buyers.
What is most impressive about her approach is the opportunity to begin to establish trust with prospects via Connect Calling. Offering useful, applicable free services and information allows prospects to begin to build a relationship where Sandra becomes a Trusted Advisor who’s got their back versus someone trying to make a sale. Sounds more like networking than cold calling doesn’t it?
And when those prospects pick up a phone to make a call when they find themselves in need of services Sandra charges for, Sandra’s much more likely to be the one who hears it ring.
Sandra’s business serves a unique niche – but Connect Calling can be a valid, productive, and profitable tactic to market your small business no matter what market you serve.
Movember: Mo’ Merchants, Mo’ Deals
The pre-holiday season is usually big in the Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) industry but this year seemed different. We’ve been saying that we’ve entered a new era for a long time, but it’s finally starting to seem real. It feels like 2007 again in a way, when everybody was getting rich and nobody even knew what the heck they were selling. It took years for account reps to finally stop referring to advances as loans and by then it was too late because the ACH loan industry was born.
E-mails like this don’t happen very much anymore:
You know… the ones where the deal would be blatantly shotgunned to multiple companies at once. The major broker shops would “accidentally” CC everyone instead of BCC to let the funders know who was in charge.
That’s not to say that deals don’t get shopped, Some do, but the circumstances have changed. To minimize the risk of being flooded with bad paper, funders ask resellers to put their money where their mouth is. The syndication game has become THE game in town and it’s led to Super ISO networks like the Factor Exchange. A user on the DailyFunder that seems to be intimately familiar with Factor Exchange is quoted as explaining the model like this:
The “mom and pop” ISOs and “Onesy-Twosey” brokers are backed by one giant ISO network and The Factor Exchange assumes half of the risk by syndicating 50% on nearly ever deal…
The massive volume of FEX submissions to lenders gives the ISOs power to negotiate for better rates and terms, One point of submission reaches 15+ lenders, the merchants credit is only pulled once, and the commission is passed straight through to the ISOs because FEX makes their money from participation.
Companies like this empower the smaller brokerages…
Who Did Mo’ Deals in Movember?
Yellowstone Capital broke their single day funding record… TWICE. This actually happened on back to back days. Executive management reported that they funded approximately $3 million in 48 hours.
Who Got Mo’ Money?
Wall Street wizard and business professor, Steven Mandis acquired a stake in Bethesda-based RapidAdvance. The news is all the more interesting with the fact that RapidAdvance is easily one of the top 5 largest players in MCA. Single individuals don’t exactly just walk through door and buy a stake in companies like this. Mandis is taking on a Strategic Advisor position and it’s our guess Rapid is about to enter another major phase of growth.
Who Got Mo’ Likes?
Merchant Cash and Capital’s (MCC) facebook fan page has gotten thousands of Likes since the third week of Movember when they announced their charity campaign. For every new Like until December 7th, MCC is donating $1 to the American Red Cross to help people that were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Who Got Mo’ Wins?
RapidAdvance was the first team to clinch the playoffs in the MCA industry fantasy football league for charity. Something tells us that Mandis is behind their incredible winning streak.
Lendio has also been making a splash on the MCA lead scene with Dave Young being a big contributor on DailyFunder. To discuss pricing, he can be reached at dave.young[at]lendio.com
Who lied Mo’?
According to CNN’s statistics, 247 million people in the U.S. went shopping on Black Friday. That’s equal to the entire American population over the age of 14. Something doesn’t smell right with these numbers. It’s our guess that CNN is using Mitt Romney’s polling experts. 😉
But someone else lied just a little bit Mo’. On Movember 26, 2012, PRWeb published a release that claimed ICOA Inc., a small tech company in Rhode Island was acquired by Google for $400 Million. The release turned out to be a hoax as part of a stock pump and dump scheme. Many critics have been left wondering why PRWeb didn’t do anything to verify its authenticity. Considering PRWeb is such a widely used PR service in the MCA space, we can testify that they’ll pretty much publish anything so long as you pay the fee. Some smaller companies use it as part of their SEO campaigns, which explains why there are so many strange looking releases out there that seem to repeat the same keyword in every sentence.
ABC Funding Co Just announced a program that will help small businesses in need of cash by providing these small businesses in need of cash with a special type of financing that will hep them if they are a small business in need of cash. Not exactly New York Times material…
Will Movember be followed by Make-a-lot-of-Doughcember? We’ll find out!
– Mo’chant Processing Resource
“How about you fund me first and then you change my merchant account?”
Some account reps will testify that closing a traditional split-funding or lockbox deal can be a bumpy road. The pay-as-you-grow system sounds fantastic over fixed payments until they learn that they have to change their merchant service provider, process sales for two full days, and then wait an extra day for the ACH to arrive in their bank account. The switch could take a few days to several weeks. Have you ever tried to convert MICROS?! A good account rep can keep the customer patient, but that job gets a lot tougher when the fixed daily ACH guys interject right before the contract is signed. We’ll fund you in two days with no processing change required! The customer would have to settle for a fixed daily payment, but that may be secondary to their stress about switching processing before receiving funds. Many things could cross their mind:
- What happens if the download fails?
- What if they say I need a new credit card machine?
- What if my current processor locked my machine with a password? How long will this delay everything?
- What if I don’t process sales every day? Will I need to wait until I have two full days of activity?
- What if there are additional underwriting steps after I switch?
- Are they going to withhold a percentage from my processing before I even get the money?
- How long is this really going to take? I would prefer if I just had the money now and then I’d feel a lot more comfortable doing the rest.
- I kind of need the money by tomorrow, I really can’t risk this taking longer than they expect.
So when RapidAdvance announced their new Rapid Funding Program, we thought, “is this really what we think it is?” We had Sean Murray reach out to Mark Cerminaro, the SVP of RapidAdvance and we learned the program is real. They can and will fund merchants prior to changing the merchant account or setting up the lockbox. In the interim, they set up a temporary daily ACH repayment to protect themselves should the conversion experience any hiccups. Murray asked if this was perhaps a response to the fixed ACH payment phenomenon that has exploded in the last year. Cerminaro responded (We paraphrased some of his words in this story), “Variable payments offer benefits. Many merchants would prefer to set up their financing this way. Some of our biggest resellers still focus heavily on split-funding as opposed to the alternatives. We believe this program will help both them and the merchant.”
With the slew of new players in the merchant financing market, is speed just window dressing for an old product? An article in Upstart Business Journal called MCAs old! The fixed payment merchant loan seems to be all the rage these days, leaving some to wonder if traditional MCA is on the decline. Cerminaro says that assertion is false. “We’ve experienced substantial growth this year on our traditional MCA product, on all of our products actually. When big companies like American Express and Amazon came in offering their own Merchant Cash Advance or loan program, it made merchants more comfortable that our product and similar ones to it are mainstream. The New York Times even ran an article that listed Merchant Cash Advance as an acceptable form of financing for small businesses. This is all making Merchant Cash Advance more attractive than it ever was before.”
On 7/28/11, we penned an article that said the Merchant Cash Advance industry was waiting for its big moment. At that time, we believed the merchants weren’t using Merchant Cash Advance financing simply because they just hadn’t heard of it. It was the hottest thing that no one was talking about. Of course the era of anonymity is gone and businesses are rushing to get funding hand over fist. The only question now is whether or not this will continue to drive rates down. Cerminaro alluded that some funders are undercutting so much that they’re forgetting to price in the risk. Other industry insiders feel the same way and the debate over it has become the most active thread on the recently founded, DailyFunder.com forum.
Contact Mark Cerminaro for any questions or clarifications regarding RapidAdvance’s Rapid Funding Program at mcerminaro[at]rapidadvance[dot]com.
– Merchant Processing Resource
By now, you’ve probably heard of Google’s earnings release blunder when their financial printer published an unfinished report. That version went viral and was clearly not ready for print since it included a placeholder note that said “Pending Larry Quote,” a space that was reserved for a quotable by CEO Larry Page.
Ad revenue was up 16% for the quarter, a 33% surge over last year’s numbers. But is Google getting greedy? We like to search for MCA industry news and in the last couple weeks, we noticed an interesting “glitch” that started to happen. Approximately 1 out of every 15 times (we didn’t run a statistical analysis), zero results show on the page. It doesn’t actually say “no results found,” but rather looks as if the results failed to load. That is of course except for the ads. The ads conveniently become the only clickable options.
This happens often enough that it has become annoying. We’ve experienced it with multiple browsers and three computers. Has anyone else fallen victim to this glitch?
Perhaps it’s psychological, but it seems like this occurs most frequently on business lending related searches, when the revenue-per-click Google earns just happens to be at its highest. Is Google getting greedy?
“This morning I woke up, brushed my teeth, and hopped in my hovercraft to go to the office. As soon as I arrived, I began my routine of playing ping-pong against my co-workers while computers performed the automated tasks I had set for them. Then I went to the gym, came back, and learned that our web portal had generated 12,000 leads, closed 7,000 deals, and funded 5,000 merchants. It was an exhausting day…” — A Senior Account Executive from the year 2013.
We’ve been offering insight on the 2012 invasion of Silicon Valley into the Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) industry. Excuse us, it’s called the “merchant financing industry” now. California technology companies are bringing money, yes, but most importantly, bringing their treasure trove of technologies to companies that were mostly satisfied with the status quo. But are America’s small businesses ready to do business Silicon Valley style or have MCA companies had it right all along, to operate in the way that small business is most comfortable with?
Two weeks ago, California enacted a law that will allow computerized driverless cars to drive on the road. Cars that drive themselves… this is business as usual in parts of California where everyday things such as gasoline, wires, and paper money don’t exist anymore. There, it is believed that clipping coupons from newspapers is something that the Pilgrims did on the Mayflower. There, applying for a small business loan should be as easy as using your brain waves to telepathically connect with a bank’s computer and having the funds instantly transferred to your bank account. There, is a sense that the rest of the country is just like them…. except it’s not.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being an MCA underwriter, you know why antiquated funding companies aren’t going to go quietly into the night. We got to speak with one veteran on condition of anonymity. His words:
We had a guy with good credit, processing $15,000 a month in credit card sales, looking for $20,000. He’d been in business for fourteen years and it seemed like a home run but it took seven weeks to close. He didn’t have a printer or a scanner and he had to drive twenty miles to the nearest Fedex/Kinkos every time he wanted to send us something. On his third trip, his ’94 Corolla broke down and we had to wait a few days until he could find a friend’s car to borrow to send the documents.
These situations do not occur every day, but it is evidence that automation will not singlehandedly knock everyone else out with one punch. There is a technology gap in America. Statisticians point out that 78% of Americans use the Internet, but there is a whole generation that doesn’t trust it with their most sensitive information or have the capabilities to use it to its fullest extent. Would a Silicon Valley takeover of the MCA industry alienate them and leave many of America’s small businesses once again without a shoulder to lean on?
Program or be Programmed
The title of this segment here is the title of a book written by Douglas Rushkoff. An article on CNN commented at length about it and its revelations about the digital age. Americans need to learn all the basics when they’re young. Your PHPs are just as important as your ABCs and 123s. CNN interestingly states:
It’s time Americans begin treating computer code the way we do the alphabet or arithmetic. Code is the stuff that makes computer programs work — the list of commands that tells a word processor, a website, a video game, or an airplane navigation system what to do. That’s all software is: lines of code, written by people.
Just a couple of years ago, I was getting blank stares or worse when I would suggest to colleagues and audiences that they learn code, or else. “Program or be programmed,” became my mantra: If you are not a true user of digital technology, then you are likely being used by digital technology. My suggestion that people learn to program was meant more as a starting point in a bigger argument.
According to Calacanis, each employee who understands how to code is valued at about $500,000 to $1 million toward the total acquisition price. One million dollars just to get someone who learns code.
Read those last two lines? Each employee that understands how to code is worth up to $1 million. Are they seriously teaching people in school that Microsoft Office proficiency is a leg up in the business world?
Am I Already a Dinosaur?
No! Don’t let those 10 year olds with a software empire get you down. Anyone can learn and you need not spend $30,000 a year on college tuition to do it. Codecademy can help complete beginners learn code for free. Get real good at it and you may earn yourself a $50,000 salary increase.
Silicon Valley with their exotic computer languages and cars that drive themselves may present a challenge to the MCA industry, but many firms will be able to hang on for a long, long time. Some people still pay by check at the grocery store and yes, many business owners would rather not use online banking, no matter how safe they’re told it is. But there will come a time when being bilingual means being able to write Java and Perl. Oh there will come a time when driving twenty miles to Kinkos in a car that one must drive themselves to fax a document that will never again exist on paper, will be an experience we confuse with the Pilgrims trip on the Mayflower.
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Article condensed 10/8/12
You may have seen the news story somewhere already: Twelve Members of the Alternative Small Business Lending Community Join Forces for Charity, but you haven’t heard the background of all the companies involved. We’d like to shed some light on the competitors that are battling it out in an epic competition of fantasy football:
Merchant Cash Group
Based in Gainesville, FL, they are a charity league co-founder and direct provider of capital. They recently launched their Fast Funding Equity Program, a unique financial solution to merchants that may not be able to get approved anywhere else.
Competing for: Kiva
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
Rapid Capital Funding
Based in Miami, FL, they are a direct financing source. They are one of the industry’s fastest growing companies and recently acquired a major credit facility from Veritas Financial Partners.
Competing for: Epilepsy Foundation
Financial Advantage Group
Based in Land O’Lakes, FL, they have been a financial provider since 2004. They have helped fund some big name franchises including individual locations for Sonic, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Quiznos.
Competing for: Society of St. Vincent De Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis.
Based in Bethesda, MD, RapidAdvance is one of the oldest and largest MCA firms in the country. They are often called upon to offer expert insight on the industry.
Competing for: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
This foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Sure Payment Solutions
Based in New York City, they made a name for themselves by offering low credit card processing rates to merchants nationwide and expanded on that success by providing businesses with financing. They are well known for their industry blog, Sure Resources.
Competing for: ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.
Meridian provides direct marketing programs for financial services companies. They are one of the most used and acclaimed marketing firms in the MCA space.
Competing for: 100 Urban Entrepreneurs
100 Urban Entrepreneurs is dedicated to helping provide a meaningful, long-term economic boost to urban communities throughout the United States by supporting minority entrepreneurship at its earliest stages.
Merchant Cash and Capital
Headquartered in New York City, they have funded over half a billion dollars to small businesses since 2005. They’re heavily involved in the financing of retail and food service franchises. Check out their new website.
Competing for: Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation – on behalf of The Silver Project
Gift of Life is a world leader facilitating transplants for children and adults suffering from many life-threatening diseases, among them leukemia and lymphoma.
A Manassas, VA firm, NVMS offers a full range of inspection services for the Mortgage, Banking, Commercial and Residential Property, Construction and Insurance industries. They’ve established a stellar reputation and are the inspection company of choice for many MCA providers.
Competing for: The Missionaries of our Lady of Divine Mercy
They provide humanitarian assistance to those suffering from poverty
United Capital Source
Based in Long Island, NY, United Capital Source has garnered much attention from their recent spate of seven figure financing deals. They are constantly adding new staff to satisfy the incredible demand for funding from mid-sized businesses.
Competing for: Smile Train
Smile Train partners with local surgeons in developing countries to provide free cleft care for poor children and follow-up services 24/7, 365 days a year.
From the wonderful city of Wilmington, DE, Swift Capital has made a major splash in the alternative business loan space with low cost working capital. They have helped over 10,000 small businesses nationwide.
Competing for: American Heart Association
This association helps to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
TakeCharge Capital has offices in Connecticut, Mississippi, and Florida. They built their reputation on spectacular payment processing services and grew into becoming a national financing provider.
Competing for: Distressed Children & Infants International
DCI’s primary objective is to provide children in rural areas the opportunity to receive an education instead of entering into child labor.
Raharney Capital, LLC
Raharney Capital is a Merchant Cash Advance industry consulting firm based in New York City. They are a charity league co-founder and the operators of this very website, Merchant Processing Resource.
Competing for: Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
This organization’s mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures.
The above companies are participants in the Merchant Cash Advance/ Microloan fantasy football league. Other firms within the same industry are constantly making charitable efforts as well, such as Yellowstone Capital. They recently raised money to help Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp acquire two ambulances. Noticeable company donors included Strategic Funding Source and Benchmark Merchant Solutions.
All of the mentioned firms are strongly recommending others to donate to the charities they are representing. In addition, any company or person that would like to contribute to the competition’s prize donation can do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We are not accepting contributions to individual charities, only to the prize donation that will be given to the winner’s charity. $5,850 has already been pledged to the prize as of the publication of this story.
– Merchant Processing Resource
New and improved New York City office location coming soon!
1375 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Donate to one of the represented charities today!
Things just got interesting. Your merchant processing $20,000 a month got approved for $26,000 and it was hard fought. Bad credit and some other issues would normally have forced this deal to go the starter route, but not this time. This time you can reflect back on the past few weeks of sweet talking the underwriter and know that it’s starting to pay off. Maybe it was the fact that you obnoxiously concluded every e-mail to him or her with a <3 or 🙂 just to make them feel extra special even if it was in response to a deal of yours they moronically declined.
I understand why you had to decline my client with 720 credit. We’ll get the next one! <3 :-)
And now this time you’re chalking up a tally on the closer board for a deal that shouldn’t have gotten done…that is until your client claims to have received a contract for $50,000 from another source. “There’s no way that can be true,” you tell them while rolling your eyes in frustration. This always happens at the finish line. Someone comes in and shouts out wild figures just to steal their attention away for a minute. But what if there really was a company offering 250% of processing volume to merchants who teeter on the subprime/starter threshold?
Sure there are ACH funders out there who will step in and say “based on their gross sales we might be able to give this merchant 500% of their processing volume!” and the like, but very few people are doing this from a split processing perspective.
We’ve been speaking with Heather Francis at Merchant Cash Group (MCG) and they plan to formally announce the details of their Fast Funding Equity program in the next couple of weeks. Without going into all qualifying parameters merchants must meet to be eligible, we’ve learned that these advances will be disbursed in 8 fixed monthly installments rather than the entire lump sum upfront. And that’s the catch. Under this program the merchant might be contracted for $50,000 but only receive a deposit for $6,000 today. However, there would be no future “renewal agreements” to negotiate or sign. Additional funds would be sprinkled into the merchant’s bank account on a near constant basis of every 6 weeks.
MCG might not win the deal every time with this program but they’re going to give a lot of account reps a run for their money. We all know the pitch of verbally promising additional funds in 3-6 months from the date of the initial advance, which is based mainly on hope that the account will perform and that the funder won’t play games. Put that up against 7 renewals in writing and it’s fair to say we’ve got a good match on our hands. There are some other special incentives for MCG account reps on the Fast Funding Equity program that are being leaked on the DailyFunder Forum.
Today was G-Day in the Merchant Cash Advance arena. GoDaddy.com’s servers were taken down singlehandedly by a jerk (let’s be real here) in the hacker group known as Anonymous. But this time we couldn’t all point and laugh like when it happened to Sony, Yahoo, or LinkedIn. No, this time thousands of MCA agents, underwriters, and staffers wondered why they stopped receiving e-mails after 2pm EST. This time Internet leads stopped coming in, internal databases stopped responding, and websites stopped loading. This time we learned that almost everyone uses GoDaddy for something no matter how much they brag about their systems and technology.
We didn’t take a poll of which companies were affected (we couldn’t because our e-mail was down!), but we did participate in the mass hysteria with several other people that were affected. As this very website went down around 2pm today, we lost contact with our database and e-mail servers. One ISO reported that their website, e-mail, and even their VOIP phones were down (You can have GoDaddy phones?). Another reported that their system was so connected to their GoDaddy servers that they couldn’t even print, scan, or fax! If you’re not a fan of Mondays, today was certainly a good day to make up an excuse to leave early. With systems crashing nationwide, chances are your stapler may not have been stapling right and your boss would have had no choice but to send you home.
Strangely, we have run into the hacker group Anonymous before. Back when they hacked Sony in 2011, they sent a 5 page blistering explanation of why they did it to the U.S. Federal Government. They included a link to our site on page 4 to an area that is now deprecated. That area outlined the basics of PCI compliance. For a week, our analytics showed that most of our web traffic originated from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the FBI. Boy, that was fun. Read that report and see our citation below:
Who To Beat in 2012
“How’s your month going?” we asked. “Pretty slow, but that’s because it’s August,” said a lot of companies we spoke to. August is typically a slow month in the world of MCA. Account reps go on vacation, small business owners hit the beach, and America subconsciously puts everything on the back burner until after Labor Day. That was quite the opposite for 2 New York based MCA firms, United Capital Source and YellowStone Capital, both of whom reportedly broke single month funding records.
According to YellowStone Capital’s posts on LinkedIn, they funded $11,125,000 in August alone. With that, they gave a special thanks to RapidAdvance, GBR Funding, The Business Backer, Max Advance, On Deck Capital, Promac and Snap Advances.
Add This To Your Data Points!
Companies that actively work to gain Facebook fans and Twitter followers are 20% less likely to be delinquent on their Merchant Cash Advance. Seriously. Kabbage, a company we mention in blurbs every so often operates independently from the rest of the industry by targeting e-bay sellers, independent Amazon stores, and social media retailers. Some people feel that they are not a serious challenger to the status quo and that their tactics, methods, and headlines are merely shock value fodder for the rest of us to laugh at while we all rant and rave about ACH deals being the hottest thing since Square. The founder of twitter (Jack Dorsey) started Square and it has completely disrupted the payments market that quite frankly was used to disruptions until Dorsey turned everything upside down. We believe Kabbage is a company everyone should keep an eye on.
On another note, our favorite part of Kabbage’s recent press release is actually the level of interest banks are expressing in their business model.
While the firm said it is open to establishing alliances with credit unions, banks have expressed more interest in seeing how they can leverage the technology platform to serve its customers.
Fresh off our rant about John Tozzi’s recent article in BusinessWeek that concluded Wells Fargo was essentially evil for being involved with MCA companies, we’ve become suddenly self-conscious of what journalists might think. Little do they know that America’s big banks have been joined at the hip with the MCA industry for a while now. Banks are still lending to small businesses, we’re just all doing it on their behalves. TRUTH!
– Merchant Processing Resource
You get up in the morning, take a shower, brush your teeth, and hop on to your computer. 73 new e-mails are waiting in your inbox. Ugh! Some of them are saying “Hey buddy, I got this deal that I think you might want to co-fund. Give me a call later and I’ll try to give you a breakdown.” Half of the time when you call these guys back, they’re busy, have already found a participant, or the deal is way too risky for you to be interested in. Fortunately, you don’t really have to deal with this hassle ever since you joined FundersCloud. You close Outlook, log in to the Cloud and check out the menu of fresh deals that have been posted to the site. You read them aloud to yourself as you scroll down the list. “15k in monthly credit card sales, 40k gross, 720 credit, in business 3 years, ooo.. and it’s a restaurant! $10,000 advance for $13,700… I like… I like… oh and $7,000 has already been raised.” You click ‘Bid’, type in $3,000, and click ‘Bid’ again to finalize. That’s it. You’re done. Once the agent closes the deal, your $3,000 is automatically withdrawn, along with the amounts from the other participants to fund the merchant the $10,000. Satisfied, you walk into the kitchen to make toast…
And that’s what FundersCloud has done. Whether you are an independent agent, an ISO, or a funder, deal syndication is now as easy as:
FundersCloud is not the competition. They’re the turbo boost button to the marketplace that already exists. This Cloud doesn’t threaten or replace your existing cloud, system, database, or CRM but rather complements it, integrates with it, and adds even more value to what you already have.
FundersCloud makes funding quicker, smarter, more efficient, and incredibly transparent. This isn’t a paid advertisement. In fact we spent a few weeks on the phone with the FundersCloud team to come up with our own independent assessment. “How does this work? Who reviews this data? How can people trust you?” and so on… We’re actually thankful their team is still accepting our phone calls after our barrage of questioning and requests for details.
The reason we believe FundersCloud is the future of syndication is because it allows people to continue syndicating with funders and people they already trust.
Allow us to explain using a fictional example:
Funder 123 encourages friends, agents, and funders to participate in funding certain deals. ISO ABC likes to syndicate some of those deals but not all of them. So the owners of ISO ABC wait and hope that Funder 123 will call them sometimes with a deal that they like. Sometimes they hate the deal. Sometimes they like it. Other times, they play so much phone tag that they miss out on the opportunity. The process takes phone calls, emails, and time, time, time. Not to mention that Funder 123 may make several of these calls to other people to join in on the participation as well.
In a perfect world, ISO ABC would automatically be notified that Funder 123 has approved a deal and is seeking participants. The key factors like credit score, processing volume, batch frequency, gross sales, and other pertinent information would be immediately available. The ISO could then click a button if they wanted to participate and the rest of the process would all be automated. This perfect world exists because this is the FundersCloud model.
Ohhh yea! And it gets better
An agent is tired of submitting his/her deals to 5 funders at once, hoping that one of them will approve it. The funders are tired of the agent doing that too. Because the agent is forced to maximize the odds of approval, there is really no alternative solution than to continue operating this way. FundersCloud resolves the mess.
Hypothetical Agent DEF uploads their deal to the Cloud and selects one company from the vast array of Deal Controllers to verify and underwrite the file. Deal Controllers are typically existing funding providers, companies that have the ability to pay commissions, collect funds back from the merchants, and track the activity. Perhaps Agent DEF’s deal does not accept credit cards but does more than $10,000 a month in gross revenue, something that a lot of companies like to look at now. So Agent DEF selects a funder as the Deal Controller in the Cloud. The underwriters at that funder are then able to access the deal through the Cloud and underwrite it. If the file meets their standards, they Verify it. The funder can then choose to fund 100% of the deal themselves or pledge to fund anywhere from 1% to 99% of it and put the remaining percentage of the approved funding terms up for auction on the Cloud.
The key details of the deal are then immediately posted and viewable to all members of the Cloud. Thousands of people will now see that a funder has verified this deal and is willing to fund part of it. If you trust that funder’s judgment, have participated with them before, or just love funding anything you can get your hands on, you can opt to participate in the deal with them. You’re not flying blind because the credit score, processing volume, gross sales volume, time in business, type of business, and batch count are all there for you to see. Cloud members can’t steal deals because any information that could be used to identify the merchant is not visible.
So why is this better? You’re only submitting your deal to one Deal Controller (funder) through the Cloud, which then allows thousands of agents, ISOs, and funders to participate if the Deal Controller chooses to fund none of it or less than 100% of it. With this kind of system, why the hell would any agent continue to send out their deal to multiple funders and then wait a week to hear back from all of them? The merchant’s credit would get hit 5 times, one of those funders might steal the deal for themselves, and at the end of the day, only 5 people are looking at it. Wouldn’t you rather let one funder Verify your deal and then give thousands of companies and agents the chance to fund it? Seriously…
If the Deal Controller is verifying the deal and can see the full file, what’s to stop them from stealing it?
A contract, a zero-tolerance policy, and a reminder that it’s up to you to choose your Deal Controller. If there are two choices in the Cloud to Verify your deal and one is XYZ Funder and the other is someone you know very well, you can pick the company you like. Many other people may trust XYZ Funder but if you don’t know who they are, then you need not select them. Besides, if a Deal Controller is caught stealing a deal from the agent through the Cloud, they will be banned. The industry is competitive and even though there are many safeguards already in place, FundersCloud will not tolerate anyone who tries to pervert the system.
Is this process difficult for the agents?
We must admit that when it was all first explained to us, some of the terms went over our head. That’s mainly due to the fact that for all the evolution within the Merchant Cash Advance industry, many things are still kind of old-fashioned. For all the systems, databases, and clouds floating around out there now, too much time is spent e-mailing, calling, and meeting up for lunch to discuss the details that we must then go back and enter into these systems, databases, and clouds. Once you sit down and play around in FundersCloud for yourself, you’ll kick yourself for not developing this on your own or curse the Merchant Cash Advance gods for not having introduced this into your life years ago. This process is just as easy for the agent as it is for the other roles.
Agent uploads deal -> Agent chooses Deal Controller -> Deal Controller Verifies Deal -> Cloud members pledge money by placing bids -> funding contract is automatically generated and made available for download to the agent -> Agent closes the deal and uploads signed contract to the
Cloud -> The Cloud automatically pulls the funds from the pledged participants and transfers them to the Deal Controller -> Deal Controller funds the merchant and is responsible for managing the account -> Agent gets paid the commission by the Deal Controller -> Agent makes toast
The deal’s performance is then made available to the involved parties through the Cloud in real time. And since the Deal Controller is obligated to manage the deal on the Agent’s behalf, the Agent retains full control of the deal on renewals. Similarly, participants are given the option to join in on renewals or new participants can be brought in altogether. Many things can happen, but all of them lead to more funding, faster funding, and a system that’s more transparent for all the parties involved.
Your own internal cloud, system, database, or CRM is probably doing wonders for data management within your company. So why resist technology in other areas? FundersCloud isn’t a concept, it’s live. Deals are already being posted, funded, and tracked. Which means, even if you’re skeptical or have a thousand more questions, you need to sign up (it’s FREE) and see this for yourself. We’ve kept tabs on a lot of events in the Merchant Cash Advance industry, and this is one of those moments where we need to pause, join the Cloud, and make toast. Because the toughest part of getting a deal funded in the future, will be deciding if you want White, Rye, or Whole Wheat afterwards.
Note: This article was originally drafted in late April but was on hold while FundersCloud made some key upgrades. We apologize if we left out any of the new cool features.